Absolutely Eye-Opening | REVIEW: Permanent Record by Edward Snowden

Title: Permanent Record
Author: Edward Snowden
Publication Date: September 17th, 2019
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Part of a Series?: No, A Standalone
I Got A Copy From Pan Macmillan India (THANK YOU!)
Buy Links: Amazon IN
Blurb Description: Edward Snowden, the man who risked everything to expose the US government’s system of mass surveillance, reveals for the first time the story of his life, including how he helped to build that system and what motivated him to try to bring it down.
In 2013, twenty-nine-year-old Edward Snowden shocked the world when he broke with the American intelligence establishment and revealed that the United States government was secretly pursuing the means to collect every single phone call, text message, and email. The result would be an unprecedented system of mass surveillance with the ability to pry into the private lives of every person on earth. Six years later, Snowden reveals for the very first time how he helped to build this system and why he was moved to expose it.
Spanning the bucolic Beltway suburbs of his childhood and the clandestine CIA and NSA postings of his adulthood, Permanent Record is the extraordinary account of a bright young man who grew up online—a man who became a spy, a whistleblower, and, in exile, the Internet’s conscience. Written with wit, grace, passion, and an unflinching candor, Permanent Record is a crucial memoir of our digital age and destined to be a classic.


It’s taken me a while to finish reading Edward Snowden’s memoir.

Everyone knows who Edward Snowden is – I was in my early teens and a little too self-involved when he blew the whistle on NSA activities for me to fully comprehend the consequences of the news he broke.

However, as I grow up a little more, watch documentaries like The Great Hack, read books like Christopher Wylie’s Mindf*ck, and even fictional works like Qualityland and understand the power of the digital world that’s not really free at all where people and data are the new commodity, Permanent Record was a logical choice of book to pick up.


Parts of this book had me ENGROSSED and others flew past the top of my head and I had to keep going back and re-reading it to make some sense of it. I loved learning about Snowden as a person, what the Intelligence Community was like pre and post 9/11, how Congress, the executive branch, the blatant lies in Congressional hearings and much more. The way Snowden described how he left the country to get ready for his whistleblowing, and even his early years were just so interesting.

Maybe after writing and posting this review I’ll be on some NSA watchlist – who knows? Maybe I already was for any number of things I’ve previously googled – all I know is that this book was WORTH it, even if it took me a while to get through.


Would I recommend it? YES! Non-fiction isn’t my go-to genre, but some books are worth stepping out of your comfort zone for.

Edward Snowden

Edward Joseph "Ed" Snowden is an American computer professional who leaked classified information unveiling mass-surveillance at an unimagined scale from intelligence agencies to mainstream media which created ripples across the globe.

Have you read any moving and eye-opening non-fiction recently?

I would love some recommendations.

Have a very happy new year!

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